Archive for October, 2013

Protecting and Nurturing Children and Youth

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Click to Watch the Video

“Jesus says – ‘let the little children come to me.’
I guess Pope Francis got the message!

So does Catholic Charities:

Food, sports, tutoring, safe homes, theater, camps and much more.

Catholic Charities protects and nurtures thousands of children and youth each year. ”

- Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

 

Read more about the little boy who hugged Pope Francis  on  the Daily News

Everyone Talks About How Children are Hungry; Find Out How We Walk the Walk

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

By Alice Kenny

One  out of four children do not get enough to eat, reports Feeding America.  Hunger is growing in New York City.

Catholic Charities Feeding Our Neighbors campaign is fighting back, partnering with parishes, schools, organizations and individuals to restock food pantries and feed those in need

Last week, Epiphany School students, staff, faculty and board of trustee members delivered enough food to feed 5,000 families.  Located in Manhattan, the school accumulated this significant donation through Epiphany’s Walk the Walk Catholic Charities Feeding Our Neighbors food drive campaign on October 20.  At the event, 350 families joined in a 2.5-mile walk along the East River Promenade to raise funds.

And while hunger, unfortunately, is growing, our commitment to fight it has grown as well.  Last year, the Walk collected food which resulted in 4,000 meals.  This year, the Walk increased its collection by over 25%.

There is just one goal for Feeding Our Neighbors, that New Yorkers answer the call to feed those who are suffering in our community.

See a full list of pantries and soup kitchens supported.


Please help us feed our neighbors.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan Reflects on Hurricane Sandy’s One-Year Anniversary

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

By Msgr. Kevin Sullivan

Much has been spoken and written on the one-year anniversary of Sandy.

Three simple thoughts —

Prayers and thoughts for those who lost a loved one from the storm.  This is indeed an irreplaceable loss.

Continued support to those who are still struggling to recover – restoring homes and rebuilding lives.  You are neither forgotten nor are you on your own.

Gratitude for the outpouring of support and solidarity from so many, near and far. Without you little would have been done.

Catholic Charities helped the day after the storm, is helping a year later and will be helping into the future to ensure that each individual and family has the opportunity and help needed to rebuild their lives.  I am immensely grateful to our dedicated professional staff and volunteers.  I am appreciative of our donors who enable our response to happen.

Read the Staten Island Advance for information about Catholic Charities’ new survivor support program

Watch NY1: Find out About Catholic Charities’ New $250,000 Survivor Support Program

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

As we approach the season of giving, Catholic Charities announced Monday a $250,000 program to provide holiday assistance to Staten Island families that are still struggling with Hurricane Sandy.

Catholic Charities will provide gift cards for holiday meals and needed food as well as other warm-weather necessities like coats, blankets and household items through Thanksgiving and the holiday season.  The program is set to begin mid November for families with open disaster case management cases.

“We’re here today and we’re going to be here,” Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr Kevin Sullivan says, “to make sure every family gets the help they need.”

So far Catholic Charities helped over 600 island families cope with the aftermath of the hurricane.

Were you hurt by Hurricane Sandy?

Call the Sandy Referral Line at 1-855-258-0483

Click here for more resources.

Watch the full program on NY1.

 

Sandy Survivors: A Year Rebuilding Lives

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan comforts a Sandy Survivor after the Hurricane Sandy Anniversary Mass of Remembrance at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island

By Alice Kenny

When Hurricane Sandy battered New York one year ago, its fierce flood waters destroyed homes, livelihoods and communities.

On this sad anniversary and every day, Catholic Charities celebrates Sandy survivors.  From disaster response professionals visiting parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers collecting and distributing food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community has responded to meet the human needs of the victims, providing help and creating hope for rebuilding lives.

Do you need help? 

  • Tune in to WABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News today at 4:00 pm for a #Superstorm #Sandy One Year Later Live Chat.
  • Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services, and other experts will be answering your questions about assistance needed one year after Sandy.
  • Visit ABC 7 Online  now to submit your questions. *Please note that due to high participation, not all questions may be answered.
  • Contact us by email.
  • Call our Sandy Help Line: 855-258-0483

Join us today at these Sandy One-Year Anniversary Events – All are welcome:

4:00PM Walk Along the Boardwalk
Sand Lane and Fr. Capodanno Blvd (by the Dolphins)
Community resilliency walk along the shoreline
showing that Sand has not defeated us. Kids welcome!

5:00PM Community Supper
Picnic area at Midland and Lincoln Avenue
Delicioud food and music for the whole family.

6:30PM Interfaith Service of Remembrance
Boardwalk at Midland and Loncolin Avenue
Meditation from faith leaders, music and signing,
invitation to share reflections and prayer.

7:45PM “Light the Shore” Vigil
The waterfront closest to your home.We invite you to light a candle with your neighbors near the waterfront closest to your home in remembrance of our losses and to honor the way our community has com together .

Help us:

Why I’m Running for Team Catholic Charities

Monday, October 28th, 2013

By Fr. Joseph Tyrrell 

My inspiration for running marathons?  Well it all began because my feet were killing me.  Seriously.

When I started serving as Master of Ceremonies at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 2008 I used to wonder how people can stand for so long.  And I noticed that one of my fellow priests – ten years my senior – was not complaining.

His trick, he ran, not much, just a little.

Well, I had always been into sports.  I pole vaulted, high jumped and played goalie for my high school hockey team and still bicycled and roller bladed in Central Park.  But, according to my aching feet, this clearly was not enough.  So, I started running for my health.

In December I started running and in January I began training for the New York City marathon.  I have now run in four marathons, three in New York and one in Phoenix.

As a pastor, I talk a lot about the importance of tithing, not just in treasure but in time and talent as well.    Tithing in treasure is easy to figure out.  I just donate ten-percent of my salary as a pastor. Donating time is easy to figure as well.  But figuring out how to donate my talent was tougher.  I finally realized that I could run for a good cause and tithe my talent.

For the past 4 years I ran to raise funds for the National MS Society.  A priest friend of mine struggles with Multiple Sclerosis.  I did a good job, too, raising over  $40,000 thanks to generous folks who supported my run.

This year, I chose Catholic Charities as the best way to tithe my talent.  Over the past 25 years I have worked closely with them, sending  numerous parishioners in crises to them for help.  I’ve seen firsthand the good  work Catholic Charities does helping children, those facing eviction and those needing support.

Moreover, thanks to Cardinal Dolan and a surprise encounter, witnessing him speed walking, I’m taking my training more seriously.  We were in Central Park, and here he comes, rosary in one hand, cigar in the other  and he passed me.

I realized I better start running faster.  Please wish me luck and support me and Team Catholic Charities in the upcoming NYC ING Marathon.

Thank you!

Help support Fr. Joseph Tyrells’s ING NYC Marathon campaign. Click here to find out how: http://www.crowdrise.com/CatholicCharitiesNYC2013/fundraiser/josephtyrrell

Catholic Charities Announces $250,000 Holiday Assistance for Staten Island Sandy Survivors

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Msgr. Sullivan speaks with Sandy survivors

By Alice Kenny

Staten Island families can still sign up for Disaster Relief Services to become eligible

Catholic Charities announced a $250,000 program to provide holiday assistance to Staten Island families still affected by Hurricane Sandy.

  • The help will come in the form of gift cards for holiday meals and needed food or other necessities  such as coats, blankets and household items during this Thanksgiving through Christmas season.
  • The focus of this service, to begin in mid-November, are families with  an open case through the disaster case management program available through Catholic Charities and other Staten Island organizations.
  • Case managers remain ready to accept additional referrals and provide help.
  • The announcement coincides with the first anniversary Hurricane Sandy Mass of Remembrance at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan on October 27.

“As the holiday season approaches, we know this is the time of year we can do more,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “Catholic Charities has been on the ground in Staten Island since Sandy hit, thanks in part to the many local pastors who did a tremendous job assessing needs and finding ways to give back to the community. We plan to be in the community for the long haul since we know more work needs to be done. It is our hope that these gifts during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons will alleviate some of the overwhelming physical and emotional devastation experienced by these families. For any family still seeking help, our case managers are ready to help.”

Cardinal Dolan, who has made several pastoral visits to the people and parishes of Staten Island that were affected by Sandy, noted that “Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has been on the front lines, providing not only relief, but coordination of aid, helping as well to renew the spirit by providing counselors for those hit hard by loss. In the days and weeks immediately following the storm, I saw firsthand their work and those of our Pastors with people whose lives had been so badly impacted by the storm. I know that Catholic Charities will be here continuing to help for as long as they are needed.”

The holiday assistance program is part of the ongoing assistance that Catholic Charities has provided Staten Island communities since last year. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Catholic Charities:

  • Distributed more than $1 million in direct assistance
  • Converted existing space into a Staten Island collection center to provide food, water, cleaning supplies, blankets, and financial Support to over 1,000 individuals with lasting power issues
  • Mobilized hundreds of volunteers to work reconstruct homes and streets
  • Provided meals
  • Staffed a disaster relief center in Staten Island seven days a week to centralize resources with an intake hotline to answer residents’ questions

Due to ongoing unmet needs facing many Staten Island families, Catholic Charities has committed to helping the borough for the long term.

One of the ongoing initiatives, the disaster case management program, was announced by Governor Cuomo in April and is administered by Catholic Charities. It provides disaster survivors with a single point of contact to develop and carry out a disaster recovery plan by getting access to a broad range of needed resources.

  • Roughly 200 service coordinators are stationed throughout the 13 hardest-hit counties, including New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.
  • Catholic Charities provides the services directly or partners with local not-for-profits like the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Staten Island, El Centro del Inmigrante, Lutheran Social Services, the Arab-American Family Support Center and the Center for Independence of the Disabled.
  • In Staten Island alone, nearly 800 families have been provided disaster case management through this program.

Eligibility for the program is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance.

Those impacted by the storm can call the Sandy Referral Line, 1-855-258-0483, to find out the location and contact information for their nearest service provider.

A full list can also be found online at  www.catholiccharitiesny.org/disasterrelief

Check out more photos of the event.

Make A Difference Day

Friday, October 25th, 2013

October 26 is national Make A Difference Day.  How will you or your volunteers Make  A Difference? If you are in need of ideas for a group or corporate program, we can assist you in brainstorming.

Email staci-jo.bruce@ccvolunteer.org at Catholic Charities for ideas.

Click here to view our latest volunteer opportunities and find what inspires you!

From the Shadows to the Light – Undocumented Family Rebuilds Their Life

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

By Teresa Santiago

When Hurricane Sandy began assaulting the Midland Beach area of Staten Island, Jesus Maria Aguilar, his wife Patricia and son Allan did not imagine the devastation that it would leave in its wake.

They lived in Midland Avenue right in the middle of a flood zone area but did not receive any warning or evacuation advisory leading up to the super storm. If warning signs were posted they did not understand because they were not in Spanish. “The day of the storm we were scared because we were feeling the strength and power of the storm. The wind and rain was like nothing we had ever experienced. By the time we decided to leave our apartment the water was already up to our thighs,” recalls Patricia.

The Maria Aguilar family went to stay with a friend on Tompkins Avenue. Less than an hour of being in their friend’s home they received a call from a neighbor informing them that their apartment building was on fire.

The family was not able to see the damage until days later after the flood waters had receded. They were told that the fire department tried to stop the fire but could not get near the building because the flood waters were too high. When the family was able to go back to their home they were totally devastated. “Nothing was left but ashes. We lost everything but the clothes on our backs and the few things we packed to weather the storm,” recalled Jesus.

“I ran into the freezing water towards the building thinking that there was something I could save,” said Patricia. “We work so hard for the few things we have. To see everything that we have worked for gone was incomprehensible. I was stunned.”

The fire occurred when 90 mile per hour winds and rain caused an electrical short in the power line in front of the Maria Aguilar’s apartment building.

For months the Maria Aguilar family lived with their nephew with no help or direction on where to go for help. Since they are undocumented they were not able to receive any federal government aid including FEMA.

“We were desperate. We had no money. I worked when I could find it. Because of my arthritis and diabetes acting up it made it very difficult to find work during this time. A neighbor told my nephew about El Centro del Inmigrante, (El Centro), about the services they provided and that it was all confidential. We immediately went and started our recovery process,” said Jesus.

At El Centro the family met with Catholic Charities disaster case manager Melba Rodriguez and received immediate help, gift cards for food and basic necessities as well as the down payment for their new apartment. What they urgently needed was a refrigerator and air conditioner. The family was using plastic coolers and ice to keep their perishable food cold and edible. In early September, Jesus received $1,300 in Home Depot gift cards to purchase his refrigerator and air conditioner.

El Centro is one of the community-based agencies subcontracted by Catholic Charities to provide a locally-based disaster case manager for each family that have unmet needs related to Hurricane Sandy. El Centro addresses the needs of newly arrived immigrant day laborers and their families. Through immigrant and labor advocacy, educational workshops, labor leadership training, and emergency intervention for hunger, homelessness, health and safety needs, El Centro provides opportunities for economic empowerment, community-building and organizing.

Catholic Charities has a proven track record of managing disaster cases beginning with the 911 terror attack in 2001 then Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in late 2011. The NYS Division of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Management, (OEM), has an existing contract with Catholic Charities to manage the DCM program for the 34 counties that were impacted by the Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee and requested that Catholic Charities expand on this experience and manage the long term disaster case management program for survivors of Sandy.

The program is designed to provide a locally-based disaster case manager for each family in the 13 impacted New York counties that have unmet needs related to Hurricane Sandy. By funding networks of community-based agencies, NYS hopes to provide easy access to support residents seeking help and to avoid duplication of services.

Catholic Charities has subcontracted with 20 locally-based not-for-profit organizations with demonstrated expertise in the provision of case management services to serve impacted communities. El Centro is one of these community-based agencies funded.

Through this program Catholic Charities case manager Rodriguez has laid out a long term plan for the Maria Aguilar family that has assessed their immediate and long term situation. She has assisted them in receiving the aid that they need to get back on their feet. “The Maria Aguilar family has gone through an extremely difficult life altering situation, but they are resilient and hard working people,” said Ms. Rodriguez.

“We finally feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we are feeling better emotionally, physically and finally feeling hopeful for a good future. We are extremely grateful for the help that Ms. Rodriguez, Catholic Charities and El Centro has given us. I don’t know what we would have done without the help” acknowledged Patricia.

“I thank God everyday that we are alive and that we suffered no injuries, material things can always be replaced. We came to this country from Acapulco, Mexico nine years ago with nothing and we have always worked hard. We will continue to build our lives. It is the only thing we can do,” concluded Jesus.

What You Need to Know About Hurricane Sandy One Year Anniversary Events

Monday, October 21st, 2013

By Alice Kenny

As the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches on October 29, Catholic Charities joins clergy and laity to celebrate survivors and draw attention to their remaining needs.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan will be the principal celebrant of a First Anniversary Hurricane Sandy Mass of Remembrance on Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea R.C. Church in Huguenot, reports the Staten Island Advance.

The cardinal plans to honor the victims, survivors and the relief efforts of the Island’s Roman Catholic churches and Catholic Charities.

Meanwhile, the March of Dimes at its upcoming gala plans to honor Joseph Panepinto, executive director of Staten Island Catholic Charities, and San Diego Padres’ pitcher Jason Marquis with Humanitarian Awards for their work on behalf of Sandy survivors.

Read more in the Staten Island Advance about why Joseph Panepinto received this award.

Check out the Staten Island Advance for a list of upcoming Sandy One Year Anniversary events.